The Ducati motorcycle history is impressive, and it is always encouraging to see that the research and development team has never lost sight of the company's very humble Italian beginnings. 2009 presented another modern twist on the Ducati classics. Before there was the Ducati Monster, the Streetfighter, and the different faces of the SportClassic, there were race bikes like the early Ducati Desmo—a bike that was ridden around relatively naked, except for its front windscreen fairing. These bikes were performance-based, and not until the 21st century was there a resurgence in the popularity of the stripped-down machines. Ducati was the first to inject the look back into the market, and that is precisely what it has continued to offer with the 2009 SportClassic.
In terms of changes, few things are different on the 2009 Ducati SportClassic bikes when compared to the 2008 model year. The obvious change is a new paint option. The 2009 SportClassic 1000S added to the classic Ducati red with a sleek, gloss-black paint job, boasting white lettering and trim. With the naked components, visible aspects of the frame, and a flat black, fully exposed exhaust, the SportClassic truly received an attitude adjustment.
The front windscreen remains functional, while continuing to offer that vintage cafe racer look. The performance remains modern, powerful, and exhilarating. This bike is not for the timid, nor the faint of heart. Such a rider would never understand the fuss and desire of straddling one of these Italian performance machines. Beginner riders should feel free to admire it, sit on it, and even take a few pictures while in a riding position, but the enjoyment should likely end there. Realistically, this bike is best owned and ridden by experienced hands.
The horizontal (L) twin fires with a distinct sound and feel. Rolling on the throttle of the 2009 SportClassic 1000S is as smooth and soft as warm butter. Likewise, the clutch, transmission, and brakes offer some of the finest performance characteristics in the motorcycle sport class. The 992 cubic centimeters of engine output work through a six-speed transmission that is finished with a chain drive. The SportClassic is made for sport riding, yet it suffers no loss in performance, while cruising at over 40 mpg. Of course, those who want to regularly put the capability of this Italian beauty to the test will find average fuel economy in the 30–35 mpg range.
The 2009 Ducati SportClassic remains a true head-turner. The enjoyment of the individual in the saddle will just barely outmatch the enjoyment of bystanders. The GT1000 remains free of the windscreen fairing and the rear tail section. One of the most noteworthy features of this bike has to be the laced wheels. Ducati deserves serious kudos for remaining true to such a simplistic and beautiful design.